Pony.ai’s Permission to Test Autonomous Vehicles with Safety Drivers in California is Denied

Published on: 26 May 2022
by KnowESG
black car

Pony.ai's, an autonomous vehicle startup based in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou, China, had its California license revoked for "numerous" safety violations.

Pony.ai, an autonomous vehicle startup based in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou, China, is no longer able to test its vehicles in California after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the company's license for "Numerous" safety violations.

The issue is that the company's workforce of safety drivers are not very safe drivers. The DMV said that, while reviewing Pony.ai's testing license, it found "Numerous violations" on the driving records of the company's safety drivers. Pony.ai currently has 41 autonomous vehicles and 71 safety drivers registered on its permit in California.

"Because of the critical role of safety drivers to facilitate the safe testing of autonomous technology and the need for these drivers to have a clean driving record as established by the DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations, the DMV is revoking the permit, effective immediately," a DMV spokesperson said.

Last year, the company's permit to test driverless vehicles - autonomous vehicles without safety drivers - was suspended after a reported vehicle collision in Fremont, California.

A spokesperson for Pony.ai said the DMV revoked the permit because three of its safety drivers had problematic driving records.

"Pony.ai approaches the development of autonomous vehicle technology with safety as our foundation, and we are proud of our safety record," the spokesperson said in an email.

Shortly after receiving its driverless testing permit last year, Pony.ai founder and CEO James Peng told The Verge that the company was also seeking approval to include those vehicles in its robotaxi service in California.

The company has been testing autonomous vehicles in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Guangzhou since late 2018 as well as in Fremont and Irvine in California.

Source: The Verge